It’s been half a decade since an English team last won the elite continental competition, and with likely 5 clubs from the Premier League contesting for next season’s Champions League honours, the jury is definitely out as to if the English giants can reclaim lost glory in Europe.
Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United, and playoff favourites Liverpool will all attempt to re-establish EPL’s Champions League dominance when the new season starts, and it is set to be another tough fight with these powerhouses having a particular hurdle to cross in the form of their La Liga counterparts.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have clinched the last 4 UCL trophies, with English teams, whose campaigns have been downright abysmal, failing to reach the grand finale since 2012.
Within that time frame, Bayern Munich have also firmly established themselves as perennial favorites for the top prize, winning the 2013 version and also making it to 3 of the last 4 semifinals. Hence, the Bavarians are also the team to beat if the teams from the much acclaimed best league in the world are to taste European glory again.
The competition at hand in the EPL is as solid as they come, but the competitors themselves – both coaches and players, aren’t really at the top of the power rankings continentally, and that won’t likely change next season.
While the quality of EPL players can’t be scrutinized, it can’t be denied that a larger chunk of the best of the best players are in the best of the best clubs in Spain and Germany, and a larger percentage of these 5-star players won’t be leaving for England this summer.
The Barcelonas, Real Madrids and Bayern Munichs continue to attract the best potential teenagers and established stars the game has to offer, and that trend won’t stop as long as they remain the go-to clubs for a Champions League medal.
For all its tough internal competition, Premier League teams have always flattered to deceive whenever it matters most on the grandest footballing stage, and not even the fact that its 5 biggest clubs will be splashing the cash in the summer transfer market is likely to change the status quo.
Nevertheless, the 2017-18 Champions League campaign is one to look out for as far as English sides are concerned, largely due to their managerial talents.
Jose Mourinho has shown how to sacrifice a top-place Premier League finish for European glory with United’s Europa League success, and while none of Guardiola, Pochettino, Conte, and Klopp will likely chase that route to glory, it can be expected of them to prove their tactical nous all over again after experiencing a mixed level of success in continental Europe in recent times.
It’s too early for any predictions, but one can be sure Zidane wouldn’t mind making history with another Champions League win, Valverde will be more than willing to prove himself to his new employers while wounded lions like Simeone, Ancelotti and Allegri are all back at their drawing tables, planning for massive comebacks next term.
It will take a lot for Premier League big guns to hold sway in the UCL next term, and while one never can tell how the season is going to pan out for each of the title favorites, it’s hardly impossible to tip one of the 5 English sides for the glorious prize.